How about offerent different levels of DJ service?

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Postby Joseph Ivy » Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:42 am

djdonny, the 40 hours includes travel time, corresponding via email and telephone, researching their music request, creating my detailed timeline/script, creating contingency plans, contacting their other vendors and certain VIPs, visiting the site before the wedding, and reviewing all of this information during the week of the event.

All of this stuff has to be done by me. However, I am considering hiring a couple of guys to help me setup my equipment (especially when I have a separate ceremony system). That would allow me to save my back until the end of the night, but it would only cut about half an hour off of my preperation time because I will have to position and connect all of my equipment.

My idea for lower priced packaging is that I would cut out some of the travel and meeting time with clients. If I limited their choices to my existing music library then I could cut out 3 hours of music research. I am pretty sure that I can cut out half (20 hours) of my preparation time.

I'd give up $200 to have 20 more hours for each week that I can spend with my family and friends. For those of you who are very focused on price, I would still be charging more than 90% of the DJs in my area.
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Postby dokai » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:50 pm

Wow, that's a lot of time. You must be spoon-feeding them and holding their hands through the entire process. I hope you're getting TWICE as much money as most of the DJs in your area are, as I'm sure you're putting in at least twice as much effort as most of them. I'm a fairly "hands on" DJ, in that I like meeting with my clients, always visit the location in advance, etc., but I don't think I typically put in 20 hours. If I was doing a "love story", then there'd be a lot more hours, granted. But for the average wedding and reception, I'd estimate that I put in between 10 and 15 hours of prep work. That isn't counting to/from/during the performance.

If you can reduce the prep time while retaining your level of service, then you've just given yourself a big raise (same $ for less time). Not to mention all the gas you'll save, and abuse on your vehicle. You say you can probably cut out 20 hours of prep time. Is that the meeting and travel time you mentioned, or in addition to the meeting and travel time?

Three hours seems like a lot of time for "music research". The longest I've ever spent tracking down a song I didn't have was about an hour. Are we talking about the same thing? Or have I just been very lucky so far?

I hate sounding like I'm saying "What the heck are you doing that's taking you so long?", but I guess that's what I'm asking. Honestly, the difference between the amount of work you're doing and the amount of work I'm doing makes me nervous. I don't THINK I'm a worthless slacker, but now you have me wondering. :shock: I don't think I'm some super-genius DJ that has figured out how to do everything in half the time of mere mortals, either. Hence my confusion.
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Postby Joseph Ivy » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:39 pm

dokai, the guy who taught me to DJ would literally just show up with all of his equipment and a information sheet from his boss. I usually didn't find out what was going on until I finished setting up the equipment and changed clothes. I have gotten shocked looks and confused responses when I hand out copies of the timeline or call vendors to verify information. My bet is that you put in more work that most DJs.

That 20 hours includes cutting one or two prep meetings which will save me 3-6 hours. I can also do the music programming on-site if all of their music requests 'must' come from my library. That will save me another couple of hours.

One of the problems I am having is that most of my clients want abnormal music. My last clients gave me a list of 25 reggae songs w/ artists that they wanted me to play. I ended up buy 15-20 CDs that I had to find, rip, and listen to before the event. My event this weekend is going to require about 4 hours of swing vocals. That took a bit of research as well. Happily, my Sunday wedding only required me to buy 2 CDs.

My bet is that once I get into a lot of referral events, I won't need to spend much time researching music because the people who hire me will have liked the music that they saw me play. I should be able to cut music reserch time down to a couple of hours by the middle of next year. If I can steamline my event preparation process then I will be a lot happier.
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Postby dokai » Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:51 pm

Thanks for the additional details. I feel much better now. :D

Something you might want to try is the Walmart Music Download Store, or similar services, for songs you have to acquire but probably won't use again. I'm not saying that Walmart will definitely have the songs, but I've found some fairly off-beat stuff there. And if they DO have it, then you're only spending $.88/song instead of having to drive around trying to track down some obscure CD and buy the whole thing for one song.
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Postby djdonny » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:12 pm

I hate sounding like I'm saying "What the heck are you doing that's taking you so long?", but I guess that's what I'm asking.


I was wondering the same thing.

I meet with the clients -- usually twice -- and I create a copy of the wedding agenda and intro list to give to the hall manager. I also locate missing songs (usually 1-5 per event), but I limit request lists to 25 songs, so I'm less likely to get many absurd requests I don't have, especially since I already own over 3000 CDs. I don't go to the halls, but I discuss my needs with the client regarding power, space, shelter, etc -- these places have all had DJs, and I adapt to any new situations pretty easily. So, I really don't consider myself a slacker, but we're really talking about less than 10 hours of prep work before the event date.
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